Month: December 2011

London Olympics and boycott

It is unfair on the part of some former Olympians to ask present athletes to boycott London Olympics because of Dow sponsorship. Former Olympians lose nothing. The athletes have practiced for three and half years. As per one estimate 111 crore rupees are spent.

Dow continues to do business in India. There is no demand to stop Dow doing business in India. Lawyers belonging to political parties have represented Dow. IOC has said Dow will remain as sponsor.

China and Pakistan are in illegal occupation of Indian territory. India has sporting ties with both countries. India took part in Olympics and Asian Games in China. Pakistan has sponsored terrorism against India.

It is meaningless to collect signatures for boycott of Olympics and give them to IOA. The government decides on boycott. It is a political decision.

Ajay Maken has written twice to IOA about Dow. How much support he has in the cabinet? He could not get Sports Bill approved by cabinet. IOA decided to participate in Olympics and write a strong letter to IOC to protest Dow sponsorship. IOA derives its power from IOC and has used IOC in its fight against government or sports minister.

Those who feel strongly about Dow should ask for its expulsion from India. No one has asked lawyers who defend Dow to give up their briefs.

Lokpal deadline

Where there is will there is a way. If Congress wants to pass a strong Lokpal Bill it can do. If it does not want to pass a strong Lokpal Bill it finds ways avoid it. In that case the passing of Lokpal Bill depends on how strong is the will of people who want a strong Lokpal Bill. If their will is stronger than that of Congress they will succeed. Anna Hazare Group wants Lokpal Bill passed in the winter session of Parliament which gets over on 22/12/2011. Otherwise he will start his indefinite fast on 27/12/2011 and has asked people to fill jails and sit in front of houses of MPs from 1 January 2012 onwards. This time the fast is to be from Azad Maidan where his previous fasts were successful.

Various excuses are given against the passing of Lokpal Bill. Some say Anna Hazare is inflexible. Anna Hazare has been flexible. He wanted Lokpal Bill passed by 15/8/2011. He went on fast on 16/8/2011. He withdrew the fast after the promise to pass it in winter session. The government must keep its promise.

Some say Lokpal Bill should not be passed in a hurry. Lokpal Bill has come and gone for the past 43 years and no hurry means it will be discussed for the next 43 years by which time most of those who are MPs now will be dead.

One funny argument is that if winter session is extended it will clash with Christmas and will trample upon the feelings of Christians. Passing a bill does not take even a minute. Once 17 bills were passed in 12 minutes. Lokpal Bill can be passed by 22/12/2011 and if necessary winter session can be extended by two days. This year Christmas comes on Sunday and not even a day will be lost because of Christmas. If more discussion is needed the session can continue till 31/12/2011 when winter session should come to an end because after that it is another year and a first session of a year should begin with President’s address. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam violated that constitutional provision in 2004 under advice from NDA government. At least one Governor has similarly violated the constitution.

Some say Anna Hazare is holding the country to ransom. When terrorists abduct a minister’s daughter or hijack an aeroplane and demand the release of prisoners they hold the country to ransom. Anna Hazare has not done that.

Some say Anna Hazare should not dictate terms to the government. If industrialists dictate terms to government as to who should be telecom minister or who should not be petroleum minister it is fine with the government.

Someone said Congress is sincere about Lokpal Bill. If Congress says it does not want a strong Lokpal and will not bring a strong Lokpal Bill and acts according then also it is sincere.

Bharata Ratna candidates

The decision of the government to change the rule for eligibility to get Bharata Ratna has stirred a debate and opened the floodgates with demands for Bharata Ratna for various persons. Formerly it was for art, literature, public service and science. Now it is for any field in human endeavour. The change came about because sport was not a category for which Bharata Ratna was given and many people wanted Sachin Tendulkar should get Bharata Ratna.

There are people who feel all national awards should be abolished because they are political. They are few. There are those who say giving Bharata Ratna for sport will devalue Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna which was equivalent to Bharata Ratna and if someone is given Bharata Ratna for sport all sportspersons who got Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna will feel humiliated. Sachin Tendulkar has got Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna. Since sport is included for Bharata Ratna, Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna should be abolished.

Some question the timing of announcement and say it is a diversion from the problems faced by UPA government. There is movement for Lokpal Bill. It had to hold back FDI in retail. There is demand for P. Chidambaram’s resignation. Rupee has weakened. Economy has declined. Sachin Tendulkar is expected to hit his 100th international 100. Conferring Bharata Ratna on Sachin Tendulkar will make people happy and they will forget about the problems.

There are people who say Dhyan Chand should be the first one to get Bharata Ratna. He got three gold medals in Olympics. He played in Amsterdam (1928), Los Angeles (1932) and Berlin (1936). He scored 1,000 goals in hockey. Dhyan Chand died on 3 December 1979. Some say both Dhyan Chand and Sachin Tendulkar should get. Some say one should get, giving to two will devalue Bharata Ratna. In the past two or more persons were given Bharata Ratna in the same year. That time nobody spoke of devaluation. Some say SachinTendulkar is too young while others oppose it saying he started young.

Apart from the above two there are many other names doing rounds.

Some have proposed Balbir Singh who got three gold medals in hockey in Olympics, another player who got three gold medals and one silver medal in hockey in Olympics, Prakash Padukone, Vijay Amritraj, Ramanathan Krishnan, Milkha Singh, Vishwanathan Anand, Abhinav Bindra, Leander Paes and Karnam Malleshwari. Someone said Mahendra Singh Dhoni should get Bharata Ratna because he led India to victory in T20 World Cup and ODI World Cup and No. 1 Test ranking.

Some have proposed Katrina Kaif, Shah Rukh Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand, Rajnikant, Gulzar, Mohammed Rafi and Mamooty. Someone proposed Lata Mangeshkar without knowing she got Bharata Ratna some years back.

Some have proposed Anna Hazare.

Abolishing awards will mean end to controversies and demands about awards and saving money. Bharata Ratna should be restricted to living persons. It was meant and given for living persons except in case of Lal Bahadur Shastri who died unexpectedly and was awarded Bharata Ranta within a few days of his death. That changed in 1990 and for some years people who had died many years back got Bharata Ratna. Some years back there were demands on behalf of many persons who had died long back so the award has not been given to dead persons since then.